A Word A Day : Lugubrious

Saturday, 1st September 2007 : Today's Word is ...


( Adjective )

Pronunciation : lu-gu-bree-yes

1. Excessively mournful.

2. Terribly gloomy.

3. Exaggeratedly depressed or depressive.

NOTE : This Good Word sounds so mournful that it approaches the state of onomatopoeia. Since the second [u] is accented, you may elongate it as long as befits the occasion. This word resonates sympathetically with the name of the ever lugubrious horror film actor of the 30s, Bela Lugosi, though the two words are unrelated. Lugosi's name was taken from the Lugos River near his birthplace in Hungary.


This comes from Latin lugubris
mournful sad, derived from the verb, lugere to mourn. The ultimate root was Proto-Indo-European leug- break, also the source of Greek lugros sore, mournful and Albanian lungë a sore, an ulcer. In German the stem devolved into Lücke breach and Loch hole. In Sanskrit, where l regularly became r, roga meant both breaking and illness. This suggests a semantic connection between being physically broken and illness and the sadness brought on by illness. We are not the least lugubrious over the fact that Riutaro Aida suggested today's word.


1. Doleful

2. Dolorous

3. Mournful

4. Plaintive

5. Rueful

6. Sad

7. Sorrowful

8. Woebegone

9. Woeful

10. Unhappy


1. Happy

2. Enjoyful

Contextual Example:

• Presently a dog set up a long,
lugubrious howl just outside -- within ten feet of them.

• Robby's face is so
lugubrious that it is no wonder I have bad dreams.

Related Words:

Lugubriously : Adverb

Lugubriousness : Noun

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